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Respecting (& Loving) the Toddler: 17 Ways to Cultivate Joy in Your Little One’s Life

PicMonkey CollageWhile it may seem that the difficulty in raising a toddler is in getting them to chill out (just! once! in! a! while!) – I’ve found that it can be nearly as challenging to make more time to simply BE with my children.

Sure, it’s important to teach our children to be respectful. To help them grow into more calm and compassionate people, aware and sensitive of other people and their environment.

Perhaps what’s even more important is to let them just revel in being this age. It really is such a special time, one that we can barely remember as adults – but clearly there’s something to it.

There’s plenty of time to make perfect little people (please don’t!).

For a while at least, when the deadlines and craziness of day to day life and adult responsibilities permit, dare I say that this is in fact our biggest responsibility.

That this joy I speak of – creating it, nurturing it, introducing and sustaining it…I’m starting to think it’s more important than anything else.

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  • Go Exploring 1 of 17
    Go Exploring
    Treasure hunts, hikes, nature walks, do them up. Toddlers are probably the most curious beings on earth.
  • Make Fun Food 2 of 17
    Make Fun Food
    I'll admit it, I'm one of those nerdly themed food people. Which is fine - because my kids love it. When I produced this sandwich to my son over the weekend, he literally clapped his hands with delight.
  • Let Them Get Rowdy 3 of 17
    Let Them Get Rowdy
    Jumping on the bed should be forbidden less and encouraged more is all I'm saying. (Obviously stick around to watch and cover the perimeter with pillows and blankets and other such make-shift landing pads.)
  • Music 4 of 17
    Music
    Just as soft, languid, dreamy music can soothe a toddler - rock and roll can get them jumping. Or in this case - full on blissed out to be a part of the scene.
  • Naked Time 5 of 17
    Naked Time
    All toddlers loves to run around naked. We know this. The end.
  • Full-on Messy Craft-Time 6 of 17
    Full-on Messy Craft-Time
    Yes, it's messy. Also yes, they absolutely LOVE it.
  • Let There Be Cake 7 of 17
    Let There Be Cake
    As seen here, eating a gluten free, sugar free strawberry shortcake. So obnoxious, I know. Also, SO delicious.
  • Go to the Park 8 of 17
    Go to the Park
    It's that simple. The park is like candy-land to a small child.
  • Fort Building 9 of 17
    Fort Building
    Sunglasses optional, twinkle lights, flashlights and ukulele mandatory.
  • Be Silly With Them 10 of 17
    Be Silly With Them
    Yarn bomb them, jump up and down on the bed with them, run around like a crazed lunatic with them - whatever. They'll love it and I bet you'll loose all your seriousness for a bit just having silly fun with them.
  • The Object of Your Affection 11 of 17
    The Object of Your Affection
    Kiss, cuddle and love them up at any and all times. Kiss attacks are my favourite thing to administer upon my children.
  • Spend One on One Time With Them 12 of 17
    Spend One on One Time With Them
    When you have more than one, this is so important. It can boost their confidence, all kids need a little breathing space from one another and uninterrupted time and attention with/from you.
  • Blow Bubbles 13 of 17
    Blow Bubbles
    It's that simple. Blow 'em, teach them how to blow them, let them roll around and run after them in the sun. Ear to ear grins will soon commence. Along with peals of laughter and maniacal laughter.
  • Dress Them in Cute Stuff 14 of 17
    Dress Them in Cute Stuff
    Okay, maybe this one is for me. I'm the mom okay?!
  • Teach Them Things 15 of 17
    Teach Them Things
    The little sponges that they are, all they want is your attention. To them you are the coolest, most amazing, brilliant person in the world.
  • Find Joy in the Everyday 16 of 17
    Find Joy in the Everyday
    This is a big one. They watch everything we do, emulate us and learn how we cope with life, which includes how we find joy and happiness. The early years are the most formative after all and I'm starting to get behind that whole mantra of it all going by in a blink. It's not so annoying to hear it anymore.
  • Do Something New & Special Just for Them 17 of 17
    Do Something New & Special Just for Them
    For example: this year I made our very first advent in the form of a paper bag banner, one for each day of December. Obviously, it was a hit. I'm creating family traditions over here and it's all (mostly) for them.

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More Babbles From Selena…

Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Creative Director. Social Media & Branding Consultant. Regular writer on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

Elsewhere on the internets…

Via my humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve.

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